Burntwood RUFC become first team to crack Cannock this season

Burntwood RUFC edged ahead of Cannock in the table after they became the first side to defeat them in the league this season.

Ben Holt goes over for a try. Pic: Joanne Gough

Ben Holt goes over for a try. Pic: Joanne Gough

It was also the first time the sides had met for a league fixture and for most of the game things went the way of the hosts. However, a late rally by the visitors saw them make inroads into a 22 point deficit with two converted tries.

Burntwood began brightly with a sweeping move left and right after just two minutes. Tom O’Brien lost his footing at the vital moment so a scrum five metres out was the result. Craig Seedhouse tried to find winger Rob Jones but the pass was fluffed.

Sean Brennan tries to break a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

Sean Brennan tries to break a tackle. Pic: Joanne Gough

Another scrum five led to the opening score on five minutes. Cannock infringed and a quickly taken tapped penalty to Luke Rookyard saw him barrel over the line for the try which his brother Owen converted superbly from the touchline.

Cannock’s first venture into home territory came courtesy of a penalty kick to touch but they lost the resulting line out and Ian Jones made ground to near halfway. Cannock conceded two penalties plus an additional ten metres which allowed Owen Rookyard to extend the lead with a successful shot at goal after 12 minutes.

Cannock’s first penalty goal attempt came two minutes later but slid right of the posts.

Burntwood continued to look the side most likely to score but a series of attacks came to nothing due to a missed pass, an infringement and then a failed drop goal attempt.

The visitors gradually imposed themselves on the contest in the 15 minutes up to the break but with no reward. A penalty goal attempt was skewed right of the posts and then when they had another penalty award for a scrummage offence they kicked for a line out which they subsequently lost.

The visitors did manage to launch a line out catch and drive early in the second period but a superb tackle by Ross Bedworth earned a penalty for his side as Cannock tried to recover possession.

Bedworth then showed his prowess in attack as well as defence when the hosts threatened for the first time in the second half after 56 minutes. Luke Rookyard seized on a Cannock error to set up a winning ruck. The ball was moved to Bedworth out on the left and he shot through a gap for a try.

A determined Ian Jones tries to exploit a gap in the Cannock line. Pic: Joanne Gough

A determined Ian Jones tries to exploit a gap in the Cannock line. Pic: Joanne Gough

Burntwood remained on top when Alan Mapp received the kick off and charged back into Cannock territory. A series of promising attacks was finished off by skipper Ben Holt who sliced his way through from a penalty award to go under the posts. Rookyard converted to put his side 22-0 up after 64 minutes.

Thoughts of a bonus point win were brief as Holt had to make a try-saving tackle just three minutes later. Cannock then benefited from home indiscipline with a series of penalty awards in the closing 15 minutes.

They were rewarded with a try six minutes from time – a quickly taken tapped penalty producing a try in the left corner and an excellent conversion. Then, with Seedhouse in the sin bin, Cannock opted for a close range scrum at another penalty award and they drove over for the try. The successful conversion ended the match.

On a red letter day for Burntwood, they fielded three senior sides for the first time in 12 months and all three won. The 2nds beat Handsworth 2nds 39-14 in a merit table fixture and the 3rds beat Leek 3rds 45-12. On Sunday the colts drew their league match at home to Stafford 10-10.

This weekend is a non-league weekend for seniors and colts so fixtures are TBA.